When I saw Sleeping Beauty on March 9, it wasn’t the first time I had seen this beautiful ballet. I remember the first time I saw it was a few years ago at the National Ballet. I was dazzled by the intricate costumes, staging, orchestra and, of course, the dancing that I could never aspire to replicate. I sat in the very back row, fifth mezzanine, and admired the glossy, perfect performance before me. Everything was flawless and wonderful, the ballerinas so effortlessly talented.
When I saw the performance for the second time this past Friday, I was lucky enough to sit in box seats right beside the stage. The view was slightly obstructed at times, but it was worth it to be so close to the dancers, almost as if I could reach out and touch them. I could hear the musicians in the orchestra clear their throats and empty their instruments during intermission. I saw the ballerinas’ legs shaking as they struggled to hold themselves up in these amazing balances, watched them overturn their pirouettes and fouettes, heard their ragged breathing through their smiles. What was most eye opening to me this time was that up close I could see how human the dancers were. I could witness their struggles, which showed me how strong they truly were.
I gained a new appreciation for this art as I watched professional ballerinas, who train hours and hours everyday for their whole lives, struggle to hold a balance, or not get dizzy from a turn, the same way I do.